Information Minister and Supervising Minister of Defence, Mr. Labaran Maku has assured that sports will remain at the heart of the Jonathan Administration’s Transformation Agenda considering its relevance to national development and national well- being saying the accolades won by Nigeria in recent times is indicative of the commitment of the President to improve the nation’s sporting fortunes.
The Minister made this known Monday evening in Abuja while speaking at the formal reception organized in honour of his Ministry’s Contingent to the 2013 Federation of Public Service Games (FEPSGA) held in Makurdi, Benue State in December.
Mr. Maku noted that no nation could afford to relegate sports to the background and expect to achieve national development, explaining that this is the reason for President Goodluck Jonathan’s commitment to employ sports as a powerful socio-economic tool especially for youth development and nation building.
He said bold decisions taken by the President following the Presidential Retreat on Sports held in October 2012 and which stressed the need for the country to return to grassroots sports development were clearly yielding the expected results and changing the fortunes of sports in the country for the better.
These according to him include the victory of the Super Eagles at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in South Africa, the triumph of the Golden Eaglets in the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, UAE, the Super Eagles’ qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Home-based Eagles’ qualification for the 2014 Orange African Nations Championship (also known as CHAN) in South Africa and subsequent 3-1 victory over the Bafana in Cape Town on Sunday to eliminate the Chan hosts from the competition.
“Under the present Administration, Sports has been given the kind of attention it deserves and I want you to redouble your efforts so that you can be part of the Jonathan success story. I am very elated about the report of last year’s performance and I can see that there has been an improvement.
“On behalf of the Permanent Secretary and Staff of the Ministry we congratulate you for raising the flag of the Ministry high”, Maku told the Ministry’s contingent.
He equally assured that he and the permanent secretary would look into the athletes’ earlier appeal for new kits and equipment to ease their training.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information, Mrs. Folasade Yemi-Esan ascribed the victory of the contingent to the grace of God while also giving Him glory for journey mercies granted the athletes to and fro Makurdi.
“You have done the Ministry proud not only by the medals won at the games but also your conduct. I know this is just the beginning. You have done very well”, Mrs. Yemi-Esan stated.
Also speaking, the National President of FEPSGA, Mr. Victor Orji commended the support of the Minister and the Permanent Secretary to the athletes. He thanked the Minister for matching words with action by making good his earlier promise to support the contingent ahead of the games.
He also appreciated the Permanent Secretary for also encouraging the development of sports in the Federal Ministry of Information especially through her participation in the monthly fitness jogging exercise, adding that the Ministry now stands in the fourth position on FEPSGA rankings.
At the 2013 FEPSGA the Federal Ministry of Information won a total of 10 medals. Gold medals were won in Swimming, Chess and Volley Ball (Women). A Silver medal was won in female Handball and 6 Bronze medals were won in other events.
During the reception cash prizes were announced to outstanding athletes and coaches ranging from N50,000 to N120,000 while the Minister and Permanent secretary decorated the athletes with their medals.
Federal Republic of Nigeria Press Release
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